E3 2014: Airmech Arena Dota comparisons off the mark

Airmech Arena has been given the “MOBA” tag and drawn more than a few comparisons to Dota and League of Legends, which has this avid MOBA player saying “… what?”

Its developer calls it a MOBA with some real-time-strategy elements, but it’s easy to argue that it’s more like a real-time strategy with MOBA elements. An honest assessment might conclude that it’s almost neither type.

Airmech’s claim to MOBA seems to stem from a few elements: there are bases that are vaguely reminiscent of towers/turrets, small groups of units routinely stream out of said bases and head toward the enemy, and when a player dies for the first time, a deep voice yells “FIRST BLOOD.”

That’s about it, and each one of those comes with a substantial caveat. The “towers” are much more akin to bases in Starcraft (ones that produce every type of unit, for that matter). The small streams of units that automatically spawn could be compared to creeps/minions, but Airmech Arena allows the player to control said units.

The “first blood” honestly just seems desperate. More and more game companies are striving to make MOBAs because they just discovered how profitable they are. Dead Island: Epidemic, Orcs Must Die: Unchained and Total War: Arena are all relevant, recent examples of games trying to cash in on the MOBA market.

That’s not to say that Airmech Arena doesn’t look good. Gameplay footage thus far has shown it to be a quicker, simpler Starcraft, which could be wildly successful considering the complexity of Starcraft is what turns most people away from it. But it doesn’t look like a MOBA, and it shouldn’t try to be.